Governor General recognises community milestone
Six local high school students recently returned from the 14-day course designed to inspire confidence and leadership skills in young people.
This pushed the number of participants since the project’s inception more than 20 years ago to over 100.
The Australian Outward Bound courses were instigated by Bruce Spender, a young naval officer who attended a UK course.
President of Nowra Lions Club in 1989, he introduced the concept of sponsoring local young people to attend the course.
In later years Bomaderry Lions Club, Shoalhaven Lionesses and the Bomaderry Bowling Club came on board and Nowra Lion Geoff Stanton has been the Nowra Outward Bound project chairman for the past 16 years.
On Wednesday evening, five of the most recent participants shared their experiences on the course with a captive audience.
The local students were put through their paces hiking, rope climbing, camping and rock climbing in order to learn life skills such as teamwork and navigation.
While the students regaled listeners with tales of twisted ankles, near vertical hikes through thick bush, curious bodily odours, camping in mud, waking to find themselves covered in slugs and days without showers and fresh clothing – each was adamant they would recommend the course to others.
“It led me to believe I could achieve more than I thought possible. Outward Bound challenged me and pushed me to my limits,” said year 11 Bomaderry High School student Maddie Johnston.
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life but it was also the best and most rewarding thing,” said year 11 Bomaderry student Matthew Bate.
For some it was about overcoming fears.
“I was frightened of heights but was able to get to the top of the ropes. I slept in mud but it was good in a way because it was kind of comfortable,” said year 11 Bomaderry High student Russell McPherson.
“I turned from a shrieking girl who didn’t want to use a bush toilet and who didn’t realise a bush change room meant actually changing behind a bush into a leader with more confidence,” said year 11 Bomaderry student Katie Williams.
Nowra High School student Tyler Watson said one of the highlights for him was reaching the top of Mount Tennent.
“Seeing the view was just fantastic,” he said.
Outward Bound CEO Ben Farinazzo read out a letter from the Governor General Quentin Bryce, who is also the Outward Bound Australia patron, congratulating them on their milestone.